Diabetic eye disease refers to several ocular conditions — including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract and glaucoma — that can result from having diabetes. Both high blood pressure and high blood sugar can contribute to the development of eye disease, which is why it’s crucial to monitor both and seek medical treatment before complications such as these occur. The following tips explain how these conditions contribute to the development of diabetic eye disease and what you can do to prevent eye damage. 


Types of Diabetic Eye Disease

Multiple types of eye diseases can result from high blood pressure and high blood sugar, but retinal neuropathy and diabetic macular edema are two of the most common. Retinal neuropathy results from persistently high blood sugar, which damages the vessels in the eyes. They may leak fluid or even bleed. DME results from a buildup of fluid in the eyes, and occurs in about half of people who suffer from retinal neuropathy.


The Impact of High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar contributes to the development of diabetic eye disease in several ways. For example, if your blood sugar stays high for lengthy periods of time, this can cause fluid to build up in the lens of the eye. This lens is responsible for how you focus, so if it’s damaged you might start to experience blurred vision. This occurs because the fluid changes the shape of the lens. However, symptoms should subside once you get your blood sugar under control.


The Impact of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can cause a wide range of medical complications, some of which can be life-threatening. It contributes to eye disease by damaging the blood vessels in the retina of the eye. The damage will vary in severity depending on how high the blood pressure rises and how long it’s left untreated. Potential damage to the eyes associated with high blood pressure is compounded when you also have diabetes.


What to Do If You Suffer From Diabetic Eye Disease

There are several treatment options available for both retinal neuropathy and DME. Often, the preferred treatment is laser surgery, which can repair damaged blood vessels in the eye by shrinking them or preventing them from leaking fluid. A doctor specializing in eye surgery can help you determine what therapy is right for you.


If you suffer from diabetic eye disease, book an appointment with Galanis Eye Center, a St. Louis eye surgery center offering compassionate and skilled care for people who have eye conditions such as retinal neuropathy and DME. We can educate you on your options for treating eye disease, as well as create a treatment plan customized to your needs.

Galanis Eye Center

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